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The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Retailing, No. 1: Hiroshi Koba

< The 2014 All-Japan Research Team
Hiroshi Koba
Mitsubishi UFJ
Morgan Stanley Securities Co.
First-Place Appearances: 5

Total Appearances: 11

Analyst Debut: 2004

Hiroshi Koba of Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. repeats in first place, earning his fifth top finish since 2008 on the strength of his accurate earnings forecasts and frequent outreach to clients, backers say. Macro factors are key to performance in this sector, the 47-year-old researcher advises. Japan raised its sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent this month — and it might push the rate to 10 percent in October 2015 — while the yen depreciated by 6.8 percent against the dollar over the year through mid-March. Koba is therefore counseling investors to judge the nation’s retailers based on “their ability to pass higher costs on to consumers as the consumption tax hike takes effect and the yen continues to weaken.” As last year, he dubs Saitama-based Shimachu Co. the top retailer among the 12 names under his coverage. “Furniture sales have remained solid,” he explains, “and the business climate for the home improvement or ‘home center’ business seems to have finally turned a corner.” Shimachu’s stock bolted 37.4 percent last year before retreating by 12.9 percent year to date through mid-March, closing at ¥2,167. Koba maintains an aggressive price objective of ¥3,000.

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